Your complete guide to a PhD in International Development

Everything you need to know about studying a PhD in International Development

part of Social Sciences

What is International Development?

International Development is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in developing countries. As a student you will learn to understand and tackle global inequalities, aiming to promote sustainable growth, societal progress, and reduce poverty.

International Development Specialisations

The world of International Development offers diverse specialisations, including:

  • Sustainable Development: Focusing on long-term solutions that serve both people and the planet.
  • Global Health: Addressing health disparities and improving healthcare access.
  • Education Development: Ensuring quality education for all.
  • Economic Development: Promoting economic growth and job creation.
  • Human Rights and Governance: Ensuring just societies and upholding human rights.

A Master's in International Development often goes deeper into these specialisations, but even at a Bachelor's level, students get a general overview. The most common specialisation in International Development is Sustainable Development.

What will you learn during an International Development programme?

Studying International Development will teach you about:

  • Global inequalities and their historical context.
  • Theories of development and underdevelopment.
  • Strategies for promoting sustainable growth and development.

Key courses you might encounter:

  • Theories of International Development: Understanding foundational concepts and debates.
  • Globalisation and Development: Analysing the pros and cons of global interconnectedness.
  • Sustainable Development: Solutions for long-lasting, environmentally-friendly progress.
  • Conflict and Development: Understanding the impact of political instability on progress.
  • Project Management in Development: Ensuring projects are efficient and impactful.

International Development is a good degree for those passionate about making a tangible difference in the world. The skills you can get from International Development courses range from project management to cultural awareness – invaluable assets in various sectors beyond development itself.

Skills required for a degree in International Development

An inquisitive mind, cultural sensitivity, and strong analytical skills are essential. Problem-solving, adaptability, and a deep-seated desire to bring about change are also important. International Development degree requirements often include a passion for understanding how the world works at and a commitment to societal progress.

What can you do with an International Development degree?

The career options are varied and rewarding:

  • Development Consultant: Offering expert advice on development projects.
  • Policy Analyst: Researching and shaping developmental policies.
  • Humanitarian Aid Worker: Providing direct assistance in crisis zones.
  • Programme Manager for NGOs: Overseeing development projects and ensuring their success.
  • Researcher: Conducting studies on developmental challenges and strategies.

When considering jobs you can get with an International Development degree, remember that this field offers a unique opportunity to influence global changes. Reflecting on what you can do after an International Development degree, the possibilities are endless, from ground-level work to shaping global policies. If you're pondering if an International Development degree is worth it, think of the global impact you can make and the countless lives you can touch.

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View all PhDs in International Development. Keep in mind you can also study an online PhDs in International Development.

Interesting programmes for you

Best Universities for International Development on PhDPortal

Universities Location TopUniversities Ranking (2018)
University of Sussex Brighton, United Kingdom 1
Harvard University Cambridge, United States 2
University of Oxford Oxford, United Kingdom 3
University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom 4
London School of Economics and Political Science London, United Kingdom 5
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, United States 5
SOAS University of London London, United Kingdom 7
Stanford University Stanford, United States 8
The University of Manchester Manchester, United Kingdom 9
University of Cape Town Cape Town, South Africa 10
Australian National University Canberra, Australia 11
University of East Anglia Norwich, United Kingdom 12
Wageningen University and Research Wageningen, Netherlands 13
University of Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark 14
University of Toronto Pickering, Canada 15
Melbourne Business School Melbourne, Australia 17
University of Sydney Sydney, Australia 18
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Johannesburg, South Africa 18
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Los Angeles, United States 20
The University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, United Kingdom 21
University of Queensland Saint Lucia, Australia 22
University of Chicago Chicago, United States 23
The University of Tokyo Tokyo, Japan 24
Brown University Providence, United States 25
University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 26
Princeton University Princeton, United States 27
The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR) 28
Monash University Clayton, Australia 29
Erasmus University Rotterdam Rotterdam, Netherlands 30
University of Leeds Leeds, United Kingdom 31
Lund University Lund, Sweden 32
University of Birmingham Birmingham, United Kingdom 32
King's College London London, United Kingdom 34
University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands 34
Makerere University Kampala, Uganda 36
National Autonomous University of Mexico Coyoacán, Mexico 37
University of Bristol Bristol, United Kingdom 38
Michigan State University East Lansing, United States 39
KU Leuven Brussels, Belgium 40
Arizona State University Tempe, United States 41
Griffith University Nathan, Australia 42
Stellenbosch University Stellenbosch, South Africa 42
University of Otago Dunedin, New Zealand 44
University of Bath Bath, United Kingdom 45
University of Reading Reading, United Kingdom 46
University of California, Davis Davis, United States 47
University of Sheffield Sheffield, United Kingdom 47
McGill University Montréal, Canada 49
Duke University Durham, United States 50
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, United States 50
Aarhus University Aarhus, Denmark 51
American University Washington DC Washington, D. C., United States 51
Beijing Normal University Beijing, China 51
City University of Hong Kong Kowloon, Hong Kong (SAR) 51
Clark University Worcester, United States 51
Fudan University Shanghai, China 51
University of Göttingen Göttingen, Germany 51
George Washington University Washington, D. C., United States 51
Georgetown University Washington, D. C., United States 51
Ghent University Ledeberg, Belgium 51
Imperial London, United Kingdom 51
Korea University Seoul, South Korea 51
London Metropolitan University London, United Kingdom 51
Macquarie University Sydney, Australia 51
Massey University Palmerston North, New Zealand 51
National Taiwan University Taipei, Taiwan 51
The Open University UK Undergraduate Programmes Milton Keynes, United Kingdom 51
RMIT University Melbourne, Australia 51
The American University in Cairo Cairo, Egypt 51
UNICAMP - University of Campinas Campinas, Brazil 51
University Sains Malaysia George Town, Malaysia 51
University College Dublin Dublin, Ireland 51
University of Adelaide Adelaide, Australia 51
University of Antwerp Antwerpen, Belgium 51
The University of Arizona Tucson, United States 51
University of Auckland Auckland, New Zealand 51
University of Bonn Bonn, Germany 51
University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, United States 51
University of Ghana Dom, Ghana 51
University of Glasgow Glasgow, United Kingdom 51
University of Guelph Guelph, Canada 51
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Urbana, United States 51
University of Johannesburg Johannesburg, South Africa 51
University of Kwazulu Natal Durban, South Africa 51
University of Liverpool Liverpool, United Kingdom 51
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, United States 51
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, United States 51
University of Nairobi Nairobi, Kenya 51
University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia 51
University of Oslo Oslo, Norway 51
University of Ottawa Ottawa, Canada 51
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, United States 51
University of the Andes Bogotá, Colombia 51
University of Warwick Coventry, United Kingdom 51
University of Wisconsin Madison Madison, United States 51
University of York York, United Kingdom 51
Uppsala University Uppsala, Sweden 51
York University Toronto, Canada 51
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